Columbo (1971–2003)
32 user 7 critic

Short Fuse 

Pressured to give up his birthright, a chemical company heir enacts a clever plan to get rid of his blackmailing uncle and take over the family business. But Lt. Columbo suspects the man's death was not just a tragic accident.


Edward M. Abroms


Jackson Gillis (teleplay by), Lester Pine (story by) | 4 more credits »


Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Falk ... Columbo
Roddy McDowall ... Roger Stanford
Anne Francis ... Valerie Bishop
James Gregory ... David L. Buckner
Ida Lupino ... Doris Buckner
William Windom ... Everett Logan
Steve Gravers ... Sergeant
Lawrence Cook Lawrence Cook ... Quincy [Murphy in credits]
Rosalind Miles Rosalind Miles ... Nancy
Lew Brown Lew Brown ... Farrell
Jason Wingreen ... Policeman
Eddie Quillan ... Ferguson
Stuart Nisbet ... Pinstripe
Annette Molen ... Girl
Jim Neumarker Jim Neumarker ... Plainclothesman




A chemist decides to kill his uncle in order to prevent him selling the family business to a conglomerate in exchange for a seat on the Board of Directors, by concealing a time-delaying explosive device inside a box of his uncle's favourite cuban cigars.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Doris Buckner's house is the same house from Ransom for a Dead Man redressed. See more »


Just before the buzzer sounds when Roger sits in his deceased uncle's chair, his left finger is on his upper lip while his thumb is on his cheek. When the camera changes, his finger is on his chin and his thumb hangs below it. See more »


Doris Buckner: Roger, I called the Commissioner of Police, and he said he'd send over his very best man.
Roger Stanford: [looking Columbo over] Is that a fact?
Lt. Columbo: Lt. Columbo: Well, my wife, she says I'm second-best, but, uh... She claims there are eighty fellas tied for first.
See more »

User Reviews

A Columbo adventure without much spark!
10 March 2005 | by The Welsh Raging BullSee all my reviews

When I say that the ending is the best part of this final Season 1 Columbo adventure, I'm not being totally sarcastic: it is the most enjoyable and entertaining aspect of what is a largely indifferent addition to the series.

Roddy McDowall is certainly not one of Columbo's strongest adversaries, a fact that is perpetuated by his character's alarming tendency to incriminate himself. The story is not bloated with the typical script ingenuity or fluency, the plot development is laboured and the characters are decidedly boring.

All in all not one of Columbo's finest hours. On reflection, nobody's heart appears to be in it. For Columbo completionists only.

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Release Date:

19 January 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Accident See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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